Borders College

Care professionals develop in training partnership

Following the launch of the Borders Care Career Academy (BCCA) in April 2018, the first intake of 11 students have successfully completed their Professional Development Awards (PDA) in Developing Professional Practice and were presented their certificates by Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, at a recent ceremony at Borders College.

Borders Care Career Academy students and partners

Pictured left to right are: (back row) Philip Barr (Managing Director SB Cares), Lesley Anderson (Curriculum Learning Manager, Borders College), Dorota McCallum, Jill Maben, Maureen Clamp, Elizabeth Gillespie, Angela Cox (Principal, Borders College) and Rob McCulloch-Graham (Chief Officer for Health and Social Care Integration, NHS Borders), and (front row) Shona Haslam (Leader of SBC), Kay Moorhead, Sarah Scott and Nadine McRitchie

The BCCA partnership came about when Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Borders College, SB Cares and NHS Borders came together in order to provide high quality training for care professionals within the region, with a clear focus on up-skilling through the adoption of digital technologies.

The presentation of PDAs – to six NHS Borders staff and five SB Cares staff – coincided with the launch of Scottish Borders Healthy Lives Week (1-7 October 2018) which is a part of the Scottish Borders Health and Social Care Partnership’s refreshed strategic plan and #yourpart campaign.

One of the main objectives of this strategic plan is to ‘increase the capacity within communities to care for our population’, something the BCCA directly contributes to by ensuring that the care workforce in the Borders is trained to a high standard by offering key qualifications like the PDA on a flexible basis to fit around candidates’ work and personal commitments.

Shona Haslam, Leader of SBC said:

“This project is just one of the many ways which showcases the partnership working which thrives here in the Borders. During Healthy Lives Week which we launched yesterday we are proactively encouraging people to live healthier lives, access the right services and support services in their community in order to live longer, happier lives.

“A fundamental part of this is the importance of supporting and developing the training and career pathways for our carers into the future – and the Borders Care Career Academy is a great example of this.

“Having compassionate and talented people as part of our workforce is something that we must continue to cherish and support. The over 75 age group is going to more than double in the next few years, but we continue to be ambitious and we strive for the best services despite being faced by these challenges. We will continue to work together to continue to support the recruitment and retention of great staff to care for those who need it.”

Many of the students were returning to education as mature students following a gap in study, and although some faced challenges adjusting to new technologies, they found that they were well supported throughout their course.

Kay Moorhead (from Whitsome, near Duns), a Home Care Assistant at SB Cares, said of the PDA:

“It was very informative, showing me the hospital as well as the community. Hospital staff explained their roles in the wards, which helped me to understand how they carry out their jobs compared to the community based work we carry out.”

Lesley Anderson, Curriculum Learning Manager for Health Care & Social Care, praised the students saying: “It’s been ground breaking and they’re trailblazers, and I’m really really proud of them. They’ve worked really hard and done really well.”

Demand for care is increasing, with those aged over 75 living in the Borders expected to double by 2036. A professional care workforce is essential to deal with their health care needs and offer a high quality of care.

Rob McCulloch-Graham, Chief Officer for Health and Social Care Integration, explained:

“This innovative partnership programme is helping health and social care organisations in the Scottish Borders with the delivery of training of the highest quality, ensuring staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles.

“The vision is for the Academy to deliver a wide range of training and skills development programmes from entry level to degree level, which will help meet the long term staffing requirements of employers in the sector.

“The work that our carers do serves the public, and I am immensely proud of what they do to make people healthy, safe and happy.”

Philip Barr, Managing Director of SB Cares, echoed this when he said: “The only thing that will determine the quality of our care is the quality of our staff. We will continue to work with Borders College as we now know that this partnership can be a success.”

Angela Cox, Principal of Borders College, added:

“It’s really important for us that we work with our partners locally to provide the skills that are required for a professional workforce in the Borders. We see this as the start of a much bigger and exciting project in terms of delivering skills with our partners in the future, and I hope that for most of them this will just be the start of something bigger and better.”

Going forward from here, BCCA has plans to develop the PDA, with hopes to offer the programme at SCQF Level 8 from February 2019.

For further information, visit the Borders College website or to discuss the BCCA provision contact Jayne Gracie, Assistant Principal – email or call 08700 50 51 52.

Published: Tue 16th Oct, 2018